ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Another abject batting performance sent West Indies tumbling to a 93-run defeat to India in the third One-Day International Friday, leaving the embattled Caribbean side with their ninth loss in 12 outings and on the verge of another depressing series result.
Opting again to bowl first at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, they managed to restrict India to 251 for four off their 50 overs, with former skipper MS Dhoni top-scoring with a Man-of-the-Match 78 not out.
Opener Ajinkya Rahane carved out 72 while Kedar Jadhav struck an attacking unbeaten 40 and Yuvraj Singh, 39. Fast bowler Miguel Cummins was the best bowler with two for 56.
In reply, West Indies never looked the part and slumped to a dreadful 158 all out off 38.1 overs – their second lowest total against India in the Caribbean.
Jason Mohammed led with 40 and Rovman Powell chipped in with a breezy 30 but no other batsman displayed the type of enterprise required to put the Windies over the line.
Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin (3-28) and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3-41) claimed three wickets apiece to lead India’s assault.
The defeat was also the hosts 10th in 12 ODIs at the venue, leaving them without form or confidence heading into Sunday’s fourth match at the same venue.
With the victory, India took a 2-0 lead and will now target their seventh series win over the Windies in ten years.
Needing a solid start to their run chase, West Indies got anything but as left-handed Evin Lewis was bowled for two in just the second over of the innings with nine runs on the board, playing back to a quick one from seamer Umesh Yadav which kept a touch low.
The Hope brothers, Kyle and Shai, then came together to add 45 for the second wicket and stabilise the innings. Kyle, on debut, looked at ease in his 19 which included three fours while Shai made 24 off 50 balls with two fours, to be one of only three batsmen to pass 20.
However, Kyle top-edged a hook at pacer Hardik Pandya and was caught at deep backward square in the 13th over, triggering a collapse that saw four wickets tumble for 33 runs in the space of 41 deliveries.
Roston Chase was completely flummoxed by the third ball he received and bowled by Kuldeep for two in the 14th over while Shai Hope got himself into a tangle against a short ball from Pandya and top-edged a return catch in the 17th over.
When captain Jason Holder was smartly stumped down the leg-side off Ashwin for six, the Windies were reeling at 87 for five in the 20th but Mohammed and Powell came together in a 54-run sixth wicket partnership to resist India.
Without being entirely fluent, Mohammed struck four fours in his 61-ball knock while Powell freed his arms to strike five boundaries off 43 deliveries.
With the partnership threatening, India resorted once again to spin and the move paid dividends. The runs had dried up and the pressure was mounting when Powell holed out to backward square off Kuldeep in the 33rd over at 141 for six and in the following over Ashley Nurse (6) squirted Ashwin to a diving Umesh Yadav at square leg with seven runs added.
All hopes then rested on Mohammed but he missed a sweep at Kuldeep and was lbw in the 37th over and the end came swiftly with Miguel Cummins (1) and debutant Kesrick Williams (1) offering no resistance.
Dhoni had earlier rescued India after they stumbled to 100 for three in the 27th over in difficult conditions, following a 45-minute delayed start because of rain.
With Shikhar Dhawan (2) and captain Virat Kohli (11) having fallen cheaply to leave India 34 for two in the 10th over, Rahane put on 66 for the third wicket with Yuvraj before adding a further 70 for the fourth with Dhoni.
Rahane faced 112 balls and counted four fours and a six before falling to a brilliant diving catch in the deep by Devendra Bishoo off fast bowler Cummins in the 43rd over.
But Dhoni belted four fours and two sixes off 79 balls and Jadhav struck four fours and a six in his 26-ball cameo, as they put on 81 in an unbroken fifth wicket stand that saw exactly 100 runs gush from the last 10 overs.